1255 face of God

1255 face of God

A term used to refer to the character of God, especially his favour towards his people. For God to turn his face to his people is to offer them his grace and help; for God to turn his face against his people is to withhold his favour and blessing. To seek the face of God is to seek his favour.

The face of God as a sign of blessing

Nu 6:25-26 See also 2Sa 21:1; 1Ch 16:11; Ps 4:6; Ps 31:16; Ps 67:1; Ps 80:19; Ps 105:4; Ps 119:135; Eze 39:29

Parts of God’s face

His ears 2Sa 22:7; 2Ki 19:28; Ps 34:15; Ps 102:2; Isa 59:1

His eyes Ps 34:15 See also Dt 11:12; 2Ch 16:9; Ps 139:16; Pr 15:3

His hair Da 7:9

His lips Ps 89:34; Isa 11:4; Isa 30:27

His mouth 2Sa 22:9; Job 15:30; Isa 45:23

His nostrils 2Sa 22:9,16

The visibility of God’s face

His face cannot be seen Ex 33:20-23 “The face of God” may mean here God’s real and true self, the inference being that no-one can look on God as he is in his total purity and majesty.

Apparent exceptions where God is seen face to face Ge 32:30 After Jacob’s wrestling with a figure whose exact identity is not explicit in the preceding verses. Jacob did experience a real encounter with God but God was in a real and approachable form, not in his transcendent and visible glory. See also Ex 33:11; Nu 12:8; Dt 5:4; Dt 34:10; Eze 20:35

The angels in heaven look upon the face of God Mt 18:10

God must reveal himself if people are to see his face Job 34:29 The Greek word for “revelation” literally means “removing a veil from one’s face”.

The righteous will see God’s face in the life to come 1Co 13:12; Rev 22:4

When God hides his face blessing is withheld

Complaints at God hiding his face Ps 44:24 See also Ps 13:1; Ps 88:14

Cries for help Ps 27:9 See also Ps 69:17; Ps 102:2; Ps 143:7

Statements concerning God’s anger and judgment Isa 54:8 See also Dt 31:17-18; Ps 22:24; Ps 30:7; Ps 51:9; Ps 104:29; Isa 8:17; Isa 64:7; Jer 33:5; Eze 39:23-24; Mic 3:4; Rev 6:16

Other phrases synonymous with God hiding his face 2Ch 30:9; Jer 18:17; Eze 7:22

God sets his face against sinners Lev 17:10; Lev 20:3; Lev 26:17; Ps 34:16; Eze 14:8; 1Pe 3:12; Eze 15:7

God’s face as a symbol of his favour

Seeking the face of God in prayer 2Ch 7:14 See also 2Sa 21:1; 1Ch 16:11; Ps 24:6; Ps 105:4; Ps 119:58; Hos 5:15

Seeking the favour of God Ex 32:11 See also 1Sa 13:12; 2Ki 13:4; 2Ch 33:12; Jer 26:19; Da 9:13; Zec 7:2; Zec 8:21; Mal 1:9

Appearing before God in worship Ex 23:15 The phrase seems to recall the fact that in ancient religions worshippers came before carved faces of their idols. In Israel such physical representations of God were forbidden but the phrase was still used underlining the belief that Israel’s God was present in his sanctuary. See also Ex 23:17; Ex 34:20; Dt 16:16; Dt 31:11; Ps 42:2; Isa 1:12

The shining of God’s face upon his people indicates his blessing Nu 6:25-26 See also Ps 4:6; Ps 31:16; Ps 44:3; Ps 67:1; Ps 80:3,19; Ps 119:135

God’s face accompanies Israel as a symbol of his presence

Ex 33:14 Literally “my face will go ...” Here this phrase may allude not only to God’s presence but also to the manifestations of his presence (e.g., the cloud in verse 9). See also Dt 4:37; Isa 63:9

See also

1025God, anger of
1110God, present everywhere
1145God, transcendent
1210God, human descriptions
1310God as judge
1403God, revelation
1439revelation
1454theophany
1670symbols
5150face
8474seeing God
8602prayer

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